„Morphine” a play after Mihail Bulgakov by Drama State Theatre company from Kurgan, south-west Sibiria, directed by Dumitru Acris, Moldavian born and Moscow based director recently working in Romania. This was all I knew when entering last night’s BABEL event.
After two hours and 15 minutes I came out from another whowww show. The Bulgakov play took originally place in times of Russian revolution around 1917 in a Russian village. It showed a young graduated doctor Poleakov (A. Sharafutdinov) who went there to separate from his disloyal wife. He found salvation into morphine, a widely used anesthetic and narcotic drug at former times.

It seemed Bulgakov filled the story with biographic subjects, and wonder why this show went so deeply into actors and audience: The theatre home town Kurgan stands on the Trans-Siberian Railway line, between Yekaterinburg and Omsk and it was home to the Kurgan Westair base during the Cold War. It is also home to Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopaedics.
But there was more. All actors had been totally engaged with the subject and every second seemed to be filled up with Bulgakov spirit thanks to an enormous precise directing by Acris who opened the world of Bulgakov. He filled it up with his ideas and creativity and with his own ideological power and his world of theater, well-known in Romania.

All the actors did a great job, as usual in Russian shows. But the main character left me astonished. The figure of Poleakov was not a typical macho, rather a soft, passive character. Sharafutdinov convinced with true acting. I believed him and how he was acting for more than two hours.
I must confess that this performance changed my subjective attitude concerning Russian theatre and Russian acting school’s educated artists.
Each and everything was kind of perfection, light, sound, songs enclosing the play like constantly changing clouds influence the weather, a successful symbiosis.
I’m looking forward to more of this director during the next festival days.

Written by Dieter Topp, german journalist and board member at Babel FAST